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January 25, 2014

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Errant employer first to be charged for not paying wages

The Fengxian District Prosecutors’ Office has for the first time filed criminal charges against an employer who refused to pay employees wages owed.

The 32-year-old employer surnamed Huang will face a court trial, according to the prosecutors’ office. He is also the first person to be charged for deliberately not paying workers wages in Shanghai.

Huang opened an unlicensed clothing factory in Situan Town in the district in November 2010. But he hadn’t paid his employees their full wages since February 2012 due to poor management, prosecutors said.

Huang paid each worker between 500 yuan (US$82.65) and 1,000 yuan as living expenses per month but failed to keep his promise to pay them the rest of their wages at the end of 2012, said a woman surnamed Meng, who has not received her full pay since starting work at the plant in May 2012.

Huang owed 440,000 yuan in wages to 39 female workers, according to prosecutors.

In April 2013, he took machines from the factory back to his hometown in Anhui Province and has not been seen since. The workers sought help form the local government but Huang still refused to pay their back wages even after the labor supervision department issued an order.

Police caught Huang at a construction site in Changning District on 29 July 2013. 

According to prosecutors, an employer who evades paying employees’ wages by transferring property, escaping or hiding, refuses to pay employees their salaries while financially able to do so, or refuses to rectify the situation on being ordered by the relevant authorities, shall be deemed as committing a crime.

The employer who pays the workers before a lawsuit is filed and bears corresponding liabilities for compensation may have his or her punishment mitigated or may not be punished if there were no serious consequences.


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